Animal rights activists march against abbatoirs in Paris

Paris (AFP) –


Hundreds of animal rights campaigners from a range of groups marched through Paris Saturday calling for the closure of all abattoirs.

Activists wearing red T-shirts sounded drums and shouted slogans, in what organisers called the Red March, to denounce the slaughter of animals for human consumption.

Placards carrying images of farm animals and poultry highlight what they say is the suffering they have to endure. "Behind each piece of meat is a sensitive being," read one.

The march was organised by the L214 group, which it says campaigns over the living conditions of farm animals, as well as the way they are transported to slaughterhouses and killed. Organisers said the march attracted 3,000-4,000 people.

Some marchers carried the banners of France's Animalist Party and other animal rights groups.

Police arrested a small group of activists after they threw fake blood over the statue of Marianne -- which symbolises the French republic -- in the city centre's Place De la Republique.

"We are here to say that it's not because an individual is different from us that it has less value," Hugo Bouxom of L214 told AFP. People's taste for the pleasures of food had more value than the lives of animals he added.

"There is a consensus around the question of animal well-being today," he said.

"Now is the time to legislate, to abolish the worst practices such as the raising of chickens in cages or the very long transport times of animals in boats, in lorries."

Among those at the march were activists from "Boucherie Abolition" who want a complete end to what they call the "holocaust" of raising animals for slaughter, which they also describe as a "crime of humanity" and a "genocide".

A series of French butcher shops have been vandalised in recent months by "anti-speciesism" activists, who say eating meat is an immoral violation of the rights of other species.

In April, a court in the northern city of Lille handed jail terms to two vegan activists for a string of attacks on butchers, shops and restaurants selling meat.

And on Tuesday, prosecutors called for suspended sentences of up to six months for two activists who assaulted an organic butcher early last month, pouring red liquid over him and his produce.